Up a road in Gardens, you’ll find the 160-year-old Leinster Hall once again risen – hotelier Nigel Pace and famed interior designer wife Sarah Ord’s techni-coloured vision. While the heritage of the building has mostly been left intact, the juxtaposition of Sarah’s bright and bold design aesthetic against this Old World backdrop is nothing short of electric. You’d think that a space with such contemporary design would automatically translate that style into the food too. Not so. They’ve turned the volume down on the menu and offer a simple selection of French bistro classics. To start, we tuck into an unctuous French onion soup – a good benchmark to see how they treat the classics – and they pass with flying colours. The French connection is all there: from ratatouille and steak frites to rillettes and steak tartare. I follow the soup with sage-baked butternut and Gruyère gratin. My companion raves about the plat du jour, which today is pork confit – other days offer items like moules marinières and roast baby chicken. Go here for a comforting, classic meal or simply for drinks and oysters on the terrace. Leinster Hall, 7 Weltevreden Street, Gardens, Cape Town; 087 625 0618; thestack.co.za.
By Malu Lambert